by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
By mid 1793–4, the radical Jacobins had successfully completed their hijacking of the French Revolution.
They openly enacted agendas that might have seemed impossible in the heady days of 1787. Long gone were the pretenses of the original idealism when the revolution abolished feudalism, issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and wrestled with turning the Ancien Régime of Louis XVI into some sort of constitutional or parliamentary monarchy analogous to what had emerged in Great Britain.
Soon executing the clerisy en masse was logically followed by Jacobins guillotining thousands of surviving aristocrats and fellow revolutionaries for supposed counterrevolutionary sympathies.
Most of the leaders of the Jacobins were themselves finally guillotined, largely because their ascendant revolutionary zeal could end only in a sort of cannibalism — given that no revolutionary could possibly meet their accelerating purist demands. Mao’s Cultural Revolution was similar, though he slaughtered millions, not thousands.
In less melodramatic terms, we are watching a rare revolutionary phase in American politics as leftists have devoured Democrats. Progressives ate liberals. And progressives are now being devoured by socialists, and soon no doubt socialists will be eaten by hard leftists, Communists, anarchists, and nihilists. In such revolutionary logic, perhaps only Antifa will emerge as pure.
The result is that the 2020 election will offer the starkest choices in the past 50 years, far eclipsing the radical contrasts of 1972. The current parade of would-be Democratic presidential hopefuls is already apologizing for their past sins of Democratic centrism, in fear of being politically guillotined.